Good Neighbor Ministries has been helping local folks through the small struggles of daily life for around 30 years, but Director Pam Clarke has noticed locals don’t know about the role the organization fills here in the community.
When Clarke moved back to Rome a few years ago, she admits even she didn’t know a lot about the organization she now oversees. She hopes to change that in the future and is starting with a universal appeal — food.
Clarke and the volunteers at Good Neighbor help those experiencing temporary hard times stay afloat with the small needs of daily life until they can get back on their feet. She hopes to give the community a glimpse into what the organization does at an upcoming open house and food truck event set for Sunday.
There will be two food trucks — Timbo’s Smokehouse and Don Neo — as well as sweetFrog Frozen Yogurt on hand in the parking lot behind the Good Neighbor office, 208 E. Second St., from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the organization and donations will be accepted on site as well.
“This is the first time we’ve ever done anything like this,” said Clarke. “It’s sort of small scale, since we don’t know what to expect yet.”
“A lot of the people in the community that are less fortunate would come to the churches for help. Good Neighbor was established as a one stop shop for those in need, originally under the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Rome,” said Clarke. “We are totally supported by members of the community and local churches. We don’t use any government funding or grant writing.”
Good Neighbor opens up shop at their small office every Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and help people with rent, utilities, work clothes, medications and even simple household items such as cleaning supplies, laundry detergent and even toilet paper.
“We might help 10 or 100 people at a time depending on the time of year,” Clarke said.
“We thought the food trucks would help bring people in,” said Clarke. “People will be able to walk through and see what we do. We’re trying to get the word out in the community more so we’re not so dependent on just the churches that have been supporting us for 30 years.”
Good Neighbor is meant to be used as more of a temporary bandage than a permanent crutch for those in need, according to Clarke. There are limits to how much one individual can receive at a time and within a certain period of time. This is partially due to policy, but also helps keep the organization within its budget constraints so more individuals can be helped.
“Except the director, everyone is a volunteer,” Clarke said. “We are a bare bones organization.”
Other than opportunities to volunteer and the always welcome cash donation, Good Neighbor always has a need for basic household items such as cleaners and soaps, and also accept diapers for those in need with babies and toddlers.
For more information about the upcoming open house, or to find out more about how to help Good Neighbor Ministries, contact Pam Clarke at 706-291-0556.